The Four Seasons in Limassol, Cyprus has been open since 1993 and is independently owned and operated by Muskita Hotels Ltd. It’s a Five Star deluxe property with 304 rooms, 6 restaurants, 4 bars, and extensive conference facilities, Shiseido Spa, a full range of sports and fitness facilities and a shopping area with exclusive boutiques, watches and jewelry. The Hotel is situated on its own sandy beach, which has been awarded with the Blue Flag (a symbol of cleanliness and safety awarded by the European Community) and is 8 kilometers East of Limassol city center.
The Four Seasons’ management is constantly looking for effective ways to build strong relations with its customers and optimize sales programs. The Hotel’s website is its important marketing tool that helps the property to attract and retain elite guests from all over the World.
Mr. Nick Aristou, the property’s Executive Director, decided to enhance the website with an online business chat solution. “Our objective was to make it easy for our customers to navigate the website,” says Mr. Aristou. “Also, we wanted to convert as many visitors into customers as possible by making it easy for them to complete bookings.”
Mr. Aristou, who has a strong technology background, did a thorough review of available products, including such market leaders as LivePerson. However, none of them matched Four Season’s specific needs. The main limitations were the lack of multilingual support, patchy compatibility with tablet users and absence of robust archival features.
Then Mr. Aristou came across LiveWebAssist, a chat solution deployed on the IceWarp site, and realized it was the perfect match. He decided to try it out on the Four Season’s site, but then found out it was not the final release yet. Still, Mr. Aristou went ahead and launched LiveWebAssist at Four Seasons’ webpage, assigning three operators to interact with customers.
From the very beginning, the Four Season’s customer service team was making the most of LiveWebAssist’s multilingual interface and Knowledgebase support features to interact with customers in English, Greek and Russian.. The property’s sales and marketing team started to see LiveWebAssist’s effect almost immediately – the bookings increased.
“LiveWebAssist contributed a lot to this on many occasions,” says Mr. Aristou. “Our analysis showed that customers booked because they were given real-time explanations through the chat service.”
Four Season’s technology team also liked LiveWebAssist’s capability to recognize returning Website visitors.
“The excellent feature helps an operator to resume the conversation from the same spot where it was ended or interrupted,” says Mr. Aristou. “That makes users spend on average 7-8 minutes on the site, a very high indicator.”
In an approach radically different form other chat products, LiveWebAsisst supports the InLine no-flash chat architecture, eliminating pop-up windows. This design allows more visitors to initiate chat sessions, because they don’t have to deal with popup blockers and assures usability for visitors from tablets like iPad or Android.
Additionally, this option gives actionable information about the visitors’ behavior.
“The operators can tell exactly where the user is on the site, so they can offer them immediate assistance, tell them where to go and answer questions with a high degree of relevancy,” says Mr. Aristou. “It’s a very useful feature.”
LiveWebAssist’s analytical capabilities helped the hotel to optimize its Internet marketing strategy.
“LiveWebAssist analytics capabilities are very good,” notes Mr. Aristou. “They are helping us to locate sources our customers are coming from. It’s a very effective tool, especially when used in conjunction with Google analytics.”
Another feature Four Seasons’ team found practical is LiveWebAssist Knowledgebase. At any point of the conversation, it allows to insert pre-approved messages (such as terms and conditions, cancellation policy, etc.) as well as URLs and graphics with a single click.
“It has been very useful, we have almost three pages of knowledgebase content now,” notes Mr. Aristou. “The option provides more professional outlook and helps to standardize responses. Operators don’t have to think about how to phrase them. In the near future, we are planning to extend the knowledgebase with images and, possibly, videos.”
According to Four Seasons’ technology team estimates, the training and ramp-up process was painless.
“The functionality of the program is simple, anybody who can use a social chat program can get accustomed to LiveWebAssist very easily,” notes Mr. Aristou.
For the support function, Four Seasons team used LiveWebAssist Direct Chat Technology, the VIP connection that gives dedicated access to key IceWarp support personnel. This option makes it possible to reach the important contacts no matter where they are – at their desktop, off-site, or on the road.
“The VIP link option has been very useful, and IceWarp support team was very prompt,” says Mr. Aristou.
Four Seasons is now planning to expand LiveWebAssist functionality.
“We are considered using it on mobile devices, and, possibly, integrating the solution with a new CRM system,” says Mr. Aristou.
In the future, the property is thinking about hiring more operators and starting to use LiveWebAssist automated translation functionality.
According to Mr. Aristou’s estimates, LiveWebAssist was showing compelling ROI from the day it was implemented.
“Just from my own observation, from the number of bookings that have been converted directly through LiveWebAssist, I can say that it has paid for itself almost immediately” says Mr. Aristou he would definitely recommend LiveWebAssist to other organizations in the hospitality industry.
“Selling hotel rooms is always a complex matter,” says Mr. Aristou. “Usually, hotel bookings for five+ star hotels are a very high-value item. It’s not a $10-20 purchase from Amazon. They are usually $5,000-6,000 per transactionand there are many issues for potential customers to understand before they actually commit to book. Anything that can give a customer greater confidence and prompt him to make a decision to buy is very valuable. LiveWebAssist gives us exactly that.”
Air New Zealand has selected Irish-technology company Boxever to power its real-time marketing push and deliver personalised offers to customers.
Boxever provides predictive marketing solutions specifically for the travel industry, via its CRM, customer intelligence, and recommendation engine. Boxever says its multi-channel customer intelligence and predictive marketing platform will allow the airline to customise offers and engagement with its customers via the web, email, mobile and in its contact centre.
"At Air New Zealand, we want to deliver more value to our customers, provide them a more tailored experience, and improve the return on our marketing spend through the use of machine learning algorithms," Air New Zealand general manager customer value and loyalty, Hamish Rumbold said in a statement. "Our partnership with Boxever is critical in delivering this vision as their expertise in the travel industry and their travel focus gives them a deep understanding of the complexities of travel retailing. This logic has been built into the Boxever solution, which we believe will shorten the delivery cycle and enable us to see results more quickly."
Dutch financial giant ING reportedly planning to make the Philippines its premier business processing hub in Asia.
ING has unveiled a rapid expansion program that seeks to harness the country's vast pool of young, educated and English-speaking workforce. ING Global Services and Operations Inc., a wholly owned ING subsidiary that handles in-house processing for the bank's growing commercial banking business in Asia and Europe, has set up shop in a 35,000-square meter W office tower in Bonifacio Global City, Manila with a capacity to employ 420 people.
The group already has BPO operations in India handled by a third-party provider. Globally, ING has about 40 shared services hub. ING GSO now employs 125 people in the Philippines and this is expected to double to 250 by 2015, according to Nigel Smith, president and CEO of ING GSO.
Home grown contact centre recruitment specialist FuturePeople has won the global finals for World's Best Contact Centre Recruitment Campaign at the 2014 Top Ranking Performer Awards in Las Vegas in November. The awards are organised by the global association for contact center best practice and showcase contact centre expertise and innovation around the globe. FuturePeople has won nearly every award there is to win locally, so this year decided to compete for the first time in a program that attracted 700 entries from 40 nations across the globe.
FuturePeople CEO Linda Simonsen said "we wanted to up the ante and showcase our innovation on the world stage to see how it shaped up globally. We saw the awards program as a valuable way to get insight into global best practice and rally the team towards excellence"
Having won both first and second place in the APAC Finals in Singapore in June, FuturePeople was propelled onto the world stage to showcase their innovation in contact centre recruitment alongside Europe and the Americas. Simonsen shared that "listening to leaders from around the globe share best practice reinforced that we're all facing the same challenges however everyone has a different cultural lens to look through which brings richness to the discussion and valuable insights".
Simonsen said "with customer engagement the top priority for 90% of CEOs, getting the right people on the front line has taken on a whole new level of strategic importance for business leaders, so this recognition comes at just the right time for us."
Randstad Portugal was runner up in the recruitment category.
Simonsen says "We won because of the innovative way we're helping organisations source a new breed of talent that fits with the changing role of the front line contact centre agent as a multi-channel customer engagement expert with emotional intelligence".
FuturePeople provides Contact Centre Recruitment and Training Solutions, including Consulting on Best Practice Recruitment Process Design.